Thursday, May 28, 2009

Arts Funding Now

I add my thanks and appreciation to everyone who participated in this year’s gala. Here are some photos of the fun.

We have been receiving lots of emails about the state budget. It is so important right now to let our legislators know how important arts funding is to us and to the communities we serve. I understand that legislators are dealing with difficult issues right now, but if arts funding is cut, AGAIN, we will have to work that much harder to get it back. Funding for the arts has never been more important and we endured deep cuts last year, please contact your legislators and ask your constituents to contact theirs. It is crucial that we act to preserve arts funding in Illinois.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thank You!

By Ben Thiem, Director of Member Services

I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who helped make our 30th Anniversary Gala on Monday at the Palmer House a success. It was a fantastic evening with great friends and supporters, delicious food and drink, moving and hilarious speeches and performances and tons of warm fuzzies. Congratulations again to each of our honorees: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Janet Davies, the side project, and Marcie McVay. It was a special night and a perfect celebration of our 30th anniversary.

Special thanks to Diana Martinez our incredible Gala Chair (one more year?), Rue McClanahan, our generous and supportive board of directors, and the entire membership. The event would not have been possible without your many contributions, from donating tickets, subscriptions, and auction packages to decorating and creating unique and imaginitive centerpieces.

On behalf of the League staff, we wish you all a relaxing and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lots Going On

Well…the League gala is Monday night and I look forward to seeing some of you there. Rue McClanahan, my favorite Golden Girl is going to be there and I think it’s going to be a great night.

Tomorrow is the kick-off for the Illinois Cultural Data Project. I encourage you all to attend if you can, it is at the Cultural Center at 9:30. I told you earlier how excited I am about this project coming to Illinois and this is a chance to learn more. Also, trainings are starting to be held in Chicago, you can find out more at I hope to see a lot of you at the kick-off tomorrow.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Peak Experiences

Yesterday morning I was lucky enough to be able to hear Chip Conley speak. He wrote a book called PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow, and is the founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality. He’s not a guy I would choose to go see on my own but the invite came from the Arts Engagement Exchange so I went.

He had a lot of really interesting ideas – I thought one of his best comments was when he was asked what we could do in this economy to try to be better, he said create small wins. By doing that, energy is redirected toward those wins and away from the crisis at hand. I thought that was really smart.

Chip runs hotels…way different from a theatre…but he said that he provides a transformative experience. He talked about tools for measuring a customer’s experience – cleanliness, timeliness, etc. He said that metric measures the bottom of the pyramid. In other words, those are measures of things the customer should expect, and in order to create a transformative experience you have to go way above that on the pyramid (which is too much to explain here) to the Peak…

Good stuff.